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Clifford Chance

Regulatory Investigations and Financial Crime Insights

Penalties for corporate offenders in Australia set for significant increase

Australia is preparing for a big increase in the maximum penalties for corporate crime. The proposed increases bring Australia into line with the sanctions available in other jurisdictions, particularly the UK and US, thereby increasing their deterrant value to potential wrongdoers.

On 20 April 2018, Australia’s Minister for Revenue and Financial Services announced the government's intention to increase maximum penalties under Australia's Corporations law ten-fold.

Corporations found to have committed criminal offences under the Corporations Act will be subject to a maximum penalty of AU$9.45 million (increased from AU$1 million), alternatively three times the benefits received or 10% of annual turnover.

Individuals will be subject to a maximum penalty of AU$945,000 (up from AU$100,000) or three times the benefits received. The maximum penalty of ten years' imprisonment for individuals will remain.

The increase in civil sanctions will be even higher. Corporations may face maximum penalties of AU$10.5 million (increased from AU$1 million), while individuals may face penalties up to AU$1.05 million (increased from AU$200,000).